Oddly enough, one of the most useful skills I’ve acquired from becoming a romance writer is an improved ability to read people’s facial expressions and body language.
I’m not suggesting I’ll be taking up a second career as an FBI profiler, but prior to learning to write romance, I had zero skills in that area. Back when I worked in IT, I would often go to meetings. Afterwards my co-workers would dissect the subtle interactions between the power players who ran our world.
“Did you see the look A gave B?” one would ask.
“I did!” another would chortle. “Did you see the expression on C’s face? She totally did not want to be assigned to work with D.”
I saw none of this.
As I’ve struggled to learn how to show emotion rather than telling it, though, I’ve learned a few things. Emotions Revealed by Paul Eckman was a godsend. It describes, with photographs, not only major emotions (fear, surprise, anger, etc.) look but also the subtle micro-expressions that accompany less strongly felt emotions.
How good are you at deciphering what people are feeling simply by looking at them?
I’ve always figured the trait a writer needs the most in order to craft compelling, believable characters is empathy.
Dictionary.com defines empathy as “the psychological identification with or vicarious experiencing of the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another.”
We’ve all known highly empathetic people in our lives, people who seem to have a knack for reading other people’s faces/body language/tone of voice and knowing what those people are feeling without having to be told.
I’ve never been one of them. Continue reading
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I was reminded of an RWA session I attended a couple of years ago with Linda Howard in which she presented Desmond Morris’s 12 Stages of Intimacy as a means to build sexual tension in a story. I believe it comes from his Intimate Behaviour: A Zoologist’s Classic Study of Human Intimacy, but I can’t confirm that because it is out of print. I would love to get a copy of it.
Of course, with the recent deluge of sexual harassment/assault accusations and subsequent consequences, the can apply to that conversation also – as in – how far down this list can you go before it is considered harassment/assault.
The list is below: Continue reading
I was noodling around on one of my favorite writing blogs recently and found a post entitled 10 Poses to Show Character Development Through Body Language. The post referenced a TED talk from 2012 by Amy Cuddy about Body Language. Still noodling around the Internet on this topic, I came across this image on bodylanguage.com. These resources reminded me of one of the sessions I attended at an RWA in the past on “Body Language, Lying, and Manipulation” presented by Dr. Cynthia Lea Clark (I remember it because Linda Howard also attended it. She sat next to me and went all fan-girl on her). Continue reading
With the recent spate of posts about sex and intimacy, I was reminded of an RWA session I attended with Linda Howard in which she presented Desmond Morris’s 12 stages of intimacy as a means to build sexual tension in a story. I believe it comes from his Intimate Behaviour: A Zoologist’s Classic Study of Human Intimacy, but I can’t confirm that because it is out of print. I would love to get a copy of it.
I have it posted next to my desk on my writing bulletin board. The list is below: Continue reading
GWAAROH-HA-HA-HA! Chewbacca dog. (Image via Wikimedia Commons)
This week, I stumbled upon the Happy Chewbacca Mom, and got all the levels of happy from it. I originally saw it on Schmoyoho’s channel. And can I digress to tell you how happy that made me? They are political satirists who “autotune the news”, and I loved them during the last election cycle. But they slowed down on posting the videos, and I lost contact with them until they suddenly showed up on my YouTube recommendations again. They are back in business! So, if you like the idea of Hamilton, the Musical, you may enjoy some Schmoyoho, too.
But, back to Chewbacca Mom: here’s Schmoyoho’s video clip, “HAPPY CHEWBACCA MASK — Songify This” . Hilarious! But if you haven’t the time, patience or the broadband for the video, here’s what happens: Candace Payne, a mom from Dallas, picks up a Wookiee mask from Kohl’s and tries it on in the car while waiting for her kids. And it’s the funniest darn thing she’s ever seen! You know how people talk about joy being infectious? Well, the vector is sight and sound; it comes over loud and clear on the internet.
If you want to see the original, here’s a link to National Public Radio. Continue reading
Read a smile you’ve never read before? Could be awesome!
Read a smile you’ve read hundreds of times? Could be loathsome.
We all know those clichéd, overused, carry-no-interest smiles and grins.
Here are a few overused smiles and grins:
- Weak smile
- Broad smile
- Silly smile
- Ear-to-ear smile
- Smile that didn’t reach eyes
- Infectious grin
- Impish grin
- Fought a grin
- Teasing grin
- Wicked grin
- Lopsided grin
Compare those to Continue reading